Arab Bloggers and the Marginalization of Free Speech on the Internet

In response to the online article by Jessica Dheere, Arab Bloggers Meet to Discuss Free Speech, Reject ‘Journalist’ Label, her intuitive ideas on the state of blogging in the Middle East and North Africa, were inspiring and an exemplar of how influential the contributions of foreign based activists are to the empowerment of peripheral perspectives. In countries like Egypt, where bloggers are becoming the voice of a highly impulsive media revolution, social media activists are just beginning to temper the persecution of peaceful social movement and the suppression of internet technology. Dheere (2008), finds that within the open source environment of the internet, the influx of information exchange, has both realized political engagement and expanded the communicative capabilities of the Arab World. However, the imprisonment of bloggers is causing activists to consider journalistic expression as an outlet for their online identities (mediashift.org). While blogging is constructively a way for activists to inform revolutions and empower the work of their peers, their scholarly contributions to freedom of speech and human rights, are being criminalized by regimes that make internet activism illegal. Essentially by controlling the communicative capacity of Arab people, these commanding and authoritative regimes are functioning to subjugate the extent of influence blogging activist have over the resolve of their social revolutions and the meditation of their followers.

In the online article Bassel Khartabil: Fears for Man Who Brought Open Internet to the Arab World, by Zoe Corbyn the author expounds upon the Syrian Assad’s incarceration of Bassel Khartabil. As a human rights activist and social media developer, Khartabil’s open-source internet technology (Aiki Lab) has not only improved communication between regions of oppressive Middle Eastern cultures, but also advanced the capabilities of information exchange around the world. Corbyn (2015), sees the imprisonment of Khartabil in 2012, as an attempt by the Syrian government to strike the technologists, journalistic activists, and human rights specialists of the social media movements in Syria (theguardian.com). Her subjective position on Khartabil’s contributions as an innovative developer, who has been wrongfully accused and detained by a controlling regime of corrupt officials, is quite inquisitive and imploring for justice and the safe return of the activist. Khartabil’s development of new language to communicate openly with outside members of the free software community, has actively expanded the range of voices, in support of the Arab movements. While his modernism is quite obvious, it is Khartabil’s influence over the internet and communication technology that has caused him to be unjustly condemned by an unaccountable regime of injudicious oppressors.

Arab Bloggers and the Marginalization of Free Speech on the Internet